Ruth Hawkins, Founding Partner

Mental health awareness week 2021

Boardman, Hawkins & Osborne LLP

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week.

This last 15 months, during the pandemic, most of us have experienced significant changes and increased stresses, especially those experiencing family breakdown or difficulties in our family situations, so it is even more important to look after ourselves, so we can manage our mental health and continue to navigate our way through these stressful times.

BH&O have links with some experienced counsellors and they are often able to help our clients through these difficult times, and help them to focus on the financial, legal and practical elements of their family dispute.

Our team are seeing a huge increase in the number of clients, both adults and young people, presenting with anxiety and stress. For many, the periods of social isolation may have exacerbated the problem. Long periods of too much ‘thinking time’ may have exaggerated problems, at a time when there has been a difficulty in accessing help, whether that is from friends or family or professionals.  Long NHS waiting lists have not helped. Small issues can grow and become frightening or overwhelming and lead to a feeling of helplessness.  

It’s really easy to withdraw, and try and avoid dealings with things. It’s really important to check on our families, friends or colleagues, and not be put off by any reluctance to talk. Be willing to just listen with no judgement. Ask if they are ok. And then ask if they are really ok.

There are a variety of helplines available:

OrganisationWho can call?What times?Phone number:
SamaritansAnyone24 / 7116 123
NHS 111Anyone24 / 7111
SANElineAnyone4:30pm – 10:30 pm0300 304 7000
The MixUnder 25sSunday – Friday 2pm – 11pm08088 4994
Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM)Those that identify as male5pm – midnight0800 58 58 58
SwitchboardLGBTQ+10am – 10pm0300 330 0630
The Abingdon BridgeYoung people aged between 13 and 2510am to 6pm01235 522375

In many families extended family members are heavily relied upon to offer support, and of course during the last year this has often proved even more difficult due to the lockdowns and social distancing rules. This at a time of added pressure over home-schooling, lack of childcare and working from home for many.

Being a specialist family law firm, many of our clients have the added difficulty of family breakdowns, or in some cases, local authority involvement. This is an added stress.  It can be very easy for clients to neglect their own mental health and feel overwhelmed by what is going on and feel helpless. Some may have escaped an abusive partner; some may not have supportive extended family to lean on.

The message that is being made very clear across all platforms in the UK, is that, it is not only good to talk about mental health, but it is essential for all of us.

To those experiencing relationship and family breakdown, BH&O can offer both legal and emotional support, as our lawyers can refer you to one of our linked counsellors. Please contact us on 01235 425500 or for more information.


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